Writing About Literature / Edition 13

Paperback (Print)
Rent
Rent from BN.com
$24.72
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 06/16/2014
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$62.49
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $53.07
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 29%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $53.07   
  • New (10) from $53.07   
  • Used (3) from $53.48   

Overview

Wr iting about Literature serves as a hands-on guide for writing about literature, thus reinforcing the integration of literature and composition. Reading literature encourages students to think and using literary topics gives instructors an effective way to combine writing and literary study.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205230310
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 11/7/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 13
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 279,804
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Edgar V. Roberts, Emeritus Professor of English at Lehman College of The City University of New York, is a native of Minnesota. He graduated from the Minneapolis public schools in 1946, and received his Doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1960. He taught English at Minnesota, the University of Maryland Overseas Division, Wayne State University, Hunter College, and Lehman College. From 1979 to 1988, He was Chair of the English Department of Lehman College.

He served in the U.S. Army in 1946 and 1947, seeing duty in Arkansas, the Philippine Islands, and Colorado.

He has published articles about the plays of Henry Fielding, the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation. In 1968 he published a scholarly edition of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera (1728), and in 1969 he published a similar edition of Fielding's The Grub-Street Opera (1731), both with the University of Nebraska Press. He first published Writing About Literature (then named Writing Themes About Literature) in 1964, with Prentice Hall. Since then, this book has undergone eleven separate revisions, for a total of twelve editions. In 1986, with Henry E. Jacobs of the University of Alabama, he published the first edition of Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. After Professor Jacobs's untimely death in the summer of 1986, Professor Roberts continued working on changes and revisions to keep this text up to date. The Ninth Edition was published early in 2009, with Pearson Longman. The Fourth Compact Edition of Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing was published in 2008.

Professor Roberts is an enthusiastic devoté of symphonic music and choral singing, having sung in local church choirs for forty years. Recently he has sung (bass) with the New Choral Society of Scarsdale, New York (where he lives), singing in classic works by Handel, Beethoven, Bruckner, Bach, Orff, Britten, Brahms, and others. He is a fan of both the New York Mets and the New York Yankees. When the two teams play in inter-league games, he is uneasy because he dislikes seeing either team lose. He also likes both the Giants and the Jets. He has been an avid jogger ever since the early 1960s, and he enjoys watching national and international track meets.

Professor Roberts encourages queries, comments, and suggestions from students who have been using any of the various books. Use the following email address: .

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

T o the I nstructor xv

Part I Introduction

C hapter 1 T he P rocess of R eading , R esponding to , and W riting

A bout L iterature 1

What Is Literature, and Why Do We Study It? 1

Types of Literature: The Genres 2

Reading Literature and Responding to It Actively 4

Alice Walker, Everyday Use 5

Reading and Responding in a Computer File or Notebook 14

Major Stages in Thinking and Writing About Literary Topics: Discovering Ideas,

Preparing to Write, Making an Initial Draft of Your Essay, and Completing the

Essay 17

Discovering Ideas (“Brainstorming”) 19

Box: Essays and Paragraphs—Foundation Stones of Writing 24

Preparing to Write 25

Box: The Need for the Actual Physical Process of Writing 27

Making an Initial Draft of Your Assignment 30

Box: The Need for a Sound Argument in Writing About Literature 31

Box: Referring to the Names of Authors 33

Box: The Use of Verb Tenses in the Discussion of Literary Works 34

Illustrative Paragraph 35

Commentary on the Paragraph 38

Illustrative Essay: Mrs. Johnson’s Overly Self-Assured Daughter, Dee, in Walker’s

“Everyday Use” 39

Completing the Essay: Developing and Strengthening Your Essay Through

Revision 41

Illustrative Student Essay (Revised and Improved Draft) 48

Illustrative Essay (Revised and Improved Draft): Mrs. Johnson’s Overly Self-Assured

Daughter, Dee, in Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” 49

Commentary on the Essay 52

Essay Commentaries 52

A Summary of Guidelines 52

Writing Topics About the Writing Process 53

A Short Guide to Using Quotations and Making References in Essays About

Literature 53

Part II Writing Essays on Designated Literary Topics

C hapter 2 W riting A bout P lot : T he D evelopment of C onflict and

T ension in L iterature 58

Plot: The Motivation and Causality of Literature 58

Determining the Conflicts in a Story, Drama, or Narrative Poem 58

Writing About the Plot of a Particular Work 60

Organize Your Essay About Plot 60

Illustrative Essay: The Plot of Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” 61

Commentary on the Essay 63

Writing Topics About Plot 63

C hapter 3 W riting A bout P oint of V iew : T he P osition or S tance

of the W ork s N arrator or S peaker 65

An Exercise in Point of View: Reporting an Accident 66

Conditions That Affect Point of View 67

Box: Point of View and Opinions 68

Determining a Work’s Point of View 68

Box: Point of View and Verb Tense 72

Summary: Guidelines for Point of View 73

Writing About Point of View 74

Illustrative Essay: Shirley Jackson’s Dramatic Point of View in “The Lottery” 77

Commentary on the Essay 80

Writing Topics About Point of View 80

C hapter 4 W riting A bout C haracter : T he P eople in L iterature 82

Character Traits 82

How Authors Disclose Character in Literature 83

Types of Characters: Round and Flat 85

Reality and Probability: Verisimilitude 87

Writing About Character 88

Illustrative Essay: The Character of Minnie Wright of Glaspell’s “Trifles” 90

Commentary on the Essay 93

Writing Topics About Character 93

C hapter 5 W riting A bout a C lose R eading : A nalyzing E ntire S hort

P oems or S elected S hort P assages from F iction , L onger

P oems , and P lays 95

The Purpose and Requirements of a Close-Reading Essay 95

The Location of the Passage in a Longer Work 96

Writing About the Close Reading of a Passage in Prose Work, Drama,

or Longer Poem 97

Box: Number the Passage for Easy Reference 98

Illustrative Essay: A Close Reading of a Paragraph from Frank O’Connor’s

Story “First Confession” 98

Commentary on the Essay 101

Writing an Essay on the Close Reading of a Poem 101

Illustrative Essay: A Close Reading of Thomas Hardy’s “The Man He Killed” 103

Commentary on the Essay 106

Writing Topics for a Close-Reading Essay 106

C hapter 6 W riting A bout S tructure : T he O rganization of

L iterature 107

Formal Categories of Structure 107

Formal and Actual Structure 108

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou Mayst

in Me Behold 110

Writing About Structure in Fiction, Poetry, and Drama 112

Organize Your Essay About Structure 113

Illustrative Essay: The Structure of Eudora Welty’s “A Worn Path” 113

Commentary on the Essay 116

Writing Topics About Structure 116

C hapter 7 W riting A bout S etting : T he B ackground of P lace ,

O bjects , and C ult ure in L iterature 118

What Is Setting? 118

The Importance of Setting in Literature 119

Writing About Setting 122

Organize Your Essay About Setting 122

Illustrative Essay: Maupassant’s Use of Setting in “The Necklace” to Show the

Character of Mathilde 124

Commentary on the Essay 126

Writing Topics About Setting 127

C hapter 8 W riting A bout an I dea or T heme : T he M eaning and the

“M essage in L iterature 128

Ideas and Assertions 128

Ideas and Values 129

The Place of Ideas in Literature 129

How to Locate Ideas 130

Writing About a Major Idea in Literature 133

Organize Your Essay on a Major Idea or Theme 134

Illustrative Essay: The Idea of the Importance of Minor and “Trifling” Details

in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles 135

Commentary on the Essay 139

Special Topics for Studying and Discussing Ideas 140

C hapter 9 W riting A bout I magery : T he L iterary W ork s L ink

to the S enses 141

Responses and the Writer’s Use of Detail 141

The Relationship of Imagery to Ideas and Attitudes 142

Types of Imagery 142

Writing About Imagery 144

Organize Your Essay About Imagery 145

Illustrative Essay: The Images of Masefield’s “Cargoes” 146

Commentary on the Essay 148

Writing Topics About Imagery 149

C hapter 10 W riting A bout M etaphor and S imile : A S ource of D epth

and R ange in L iterature 151

Metaphors and Similes: The Major Figures of Speech 151

Characteristics of Metaphors and Similes 153

John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer 153

Box: Vehicle and Tenor 155

Writing About Metaphors and Similes 155

Organize Your Essay About Metaphors and Similes 156

Illustrative Essay: Shakespeare’s Metaphors in “Sonnet 30:

When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought” 157

Commentary on the Essay 160

Writing Topics About Metaphors and Similes 161

C hapter 11 W riting A bout S ymbolism and A llegory : K eys to

E xtended M eaning 162

Symbolism and Meaning 162

Allegory 164

Fable, Parable, and Myth 166

Allusion in Symbolism and Allegory 166

Writing About Symbolism and Allegory 167

Organize Your Essay About Symbolism or Allegory 168

Illustrative Essay (Symbolism in a Poem): Symbolism in William Butler Yeats’s

“The Second Coming” 170

Commentary on the Essay 172

Illustrative Essay (Allegory in a Story): The Allegory of

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” 173

Commentary on the Essay 177

Writing Topics About Symbolism and Allegory 177

C hapter 12 W riting A bout T one : T he W riter s C ontrol

over A ttitudes and F eelings 179

Tone and Attitudes 180

Tone and Humor 181

Tone and Irony 182

Writing About Tone 184

Organize Your Essay about Tone 185

Illustrative Essay: Kate Chopin’s Irony in “The Story of an Hour” 186

Commentary on the Essay 190

Writing Topics About Tone 190

C hapter 13 W riting A bout R hyme in P oetry :

T he R epetition of I dentical S ounds to

E mphasize I deas 192

The Nature and Function of Rhyme 192

Writing About Rhyme 196

Organize Your Essay About Rhyme 196

Illustrative Essay: The Rhymes in Christina Rossetti’s “Echo” 197

Commentary on the Essay 200

Writing Topics About Rhyme in Poetry 201

Part III Writing About More General Literary Topics

C hapter 14 W riting A bout a L iterary P roblem : C hallenges to

O vercome in R eading 202

Strategies for Developing an Essay About a Problem 203

Writing About a Problem 205

Organize Your Essay About a Problem 205

Illustrative Essay: The Problem of Robert Frost’s Use of the Term

“Desert Places” in the Poem “Desert Places”

206

Commentary on the Essay 208

Writing Topics About Studying Problems in Literature 209

C hapter 15 W riting E ssays of C omparison -C ontrast and

E xtended C omparison -C ontrast : L earning by

S eeing L iterary W orks T ogether 210

Guidelines for the Comparison-Contrast Essay 211

The Extended Comparison-Contrast Essay 214

Box: Citing References in a Longer Comparison-Contrast Essay 215

Writing a Comparison-Contrast Essay 215

Organize Your Comparison-Contrast Essay 215

Illustrative Essay (Comparing and Contrasting Two Works): The Views

of War in Amy Lowell’s “Patterns” and Wilfred Owen’s “Anthem for

Doomed Youth” 216

Commentary on the Essay 220

Illustrative Essay (Extended Comparison-Contrast): Literary Treatments

of the Tension Between Private and Public Life 220

Commentary on the Essay 225

Writing Topics About Comparison and Contrast 226

C hapter 16 W riting A bout a W ork in I ts H istorical ,

I ntellectual , and C ult ural C ontext 228

History, Culture, and Multiculturalism 229

Literature in Its Time and Place 230

Writing About a Work in Its Historical and Cultural Context 230

Organize Your Essay About a Work and Its Context 232

Illustrative Essay: Langston Hughes’s References to Black Servitude and

Black Pride in “

Negro” 234

Commentary on the Essay 237

Writing Topics About Works in Their Historical, Intellectual, and

Cultural Context 237

C hapter 17 W riting a R eview E ssay : D eveloping I deas and E valuating

L iterary W orks for S pecial or

G eneral A udiences 239

Writing a Review Essay 240

Organize Your Review Essay 240

First Illustrative Essay (A Review for General Readers): Nathaniel

Hawthorne’s Story “Young Goodman Brown”: A View of Mistaken

Zeal 242

Commentary on the Essay 244

Second Illustrative Essay (Designed for a Particular Group—Here, a

Religious Group): Religious Intolerance and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Story

“Young Goodman Brown” 244

Commentary on the Essay 246

Third Illustrative Essay (A Personal Review for a General Audience):

Security and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Story “Young Goodman Brown,” 247

Commentary on the Essay 249

Topics for Studying and Discussing the Writing of Reviews 250

C hapter 18 W riting E xaminations on L iterature 251

Answer the Questions That Are Asked 251

Systematic Preparation 253

Two Basic Types of Questions About Literature 256

C hapter 19 W riting and D ocumenting the R esearch E ssay ; U sing

E xtra R esources for U nderstanding 262

Selecting a Topic 262

Setting Up a Working Bibliography 264

Locating Sources 264

Box: Evaluating Sources 265

Box: Important Considerations About Computer-Aided Research 267

Taking Notes and Paraphrasing Material 270

Box: Plagiarism: An Embarrassing But Vital

Subject—and a Danger to Be Overcome 273

Classify Your Cards and Group Them Accordingly 277

Documenting Your Work 280

Organize Your Research Essay 283

Illustrative Research Essay: The Structure of Katherine Mansfield’s

“Miss Brill” 284

Commentary on the Essay 290

Writing Topics for Research Essays 292

Part IV Appendixes

A ppendix A

C ritical A pproaches I mportant in the S tudy

of L iterature 293

Moral / Intellectual 294

Topical/Historical 295

New Critical/Formalist 296

Structuralist 297

Feminist Criticism, Gender Studies, and Queer Theory 299

Economic Determinist/Marxist 300

Psychological/Psychoanalytic 301

Archetypal/Symbolic/Mythic 302

Deconstructionist 303

Reader-Response 305

A ppendix B 

MLA R ecommendations for D ocumenting

S ources 307

(Nonelectronic) Books, Articles, Poems, Letters, Reviews, Recordings,

Programs 307

The Citation of Electronic Sources 312

A ppendix C

W orks U sed in the T ext for I llustrative E ssays

and R eferences 315

Stories

Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour 316

A woman is shocked by news of her husband’s death, but there is still a greater shock in

store for her.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Young Goodman Brown 317

Living in colonial Salem, Young Goodman Brown has a bewildering encounter that

affects his outlook on life and his attitudes towards people.

Shirley Jackson, The Lottery 327

Why does the prize-winner of a community-sponsored lottery make the claim that the

drawing was not fair?

Frank O’Connor, First Confession 332

Jackie as a young man recalls his mixed memories of the events surrounding his first

childhood experience with confession.

Mark Twain, Luck 338

A follower of a famous British general tells what really happened.

Eudora Welty, A Worn Path 341

Phoenix Jackson, a devoted grandmother, walks a well-worn path on a mission of great

love.

Poems

Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach 347

When you lose certainty, what remains for you?

William Blake, The Tyger 348

What mysterious force creates evil as well as good?

Gwendolyn Brooks, We Real Cool 348

Just how cool are they, really? How successful are they going to be?

Robert Browning, My Last Duchess 349

An arrogant duke shows his dead wife’s portrait to the envoy of the count.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Kubla Khan 350

What does Kubla Khan create to give himself the greatest joy?

John Donne, Holy Sonnet 10: Death Be Not Proud 352

How does eternal life put down death?

Robert Frost, Desert Places 352

What is more frightening than the emptiness of outer space?

Thomas Hardy, Channel Firing 353

What is loud enough to waken the dead, and then, what do the dead say about it?

Thomas Hardy, The Man He Killed 354

A combat soldier muses about the irony of battlefield conflict.

Langston Hughes, Negro 354

What are some of the outrages experienced throughout history by blacks?

John Keats, Bright Star 355

The speaker dedicates himself to constancy and steadfastness.

John Keats, On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer 356

How can reading a translation be as exciting as discovering a new planet or a new

ocean?

Irving Layton, Rhine Boat Trip 356

What terrible memory counterbalances the beauty of German castles, fields, and

traditions?

Amy Lowell, Patterns 357

What does a woman think when she learns that her fiancé will never return from

overseas battle?

John Masefield, Cargoes 360

How do modern cargo ships differ from those of the past?

Wilfred Owen, Anthem for Doomed Youth 360

War forces poignant changes in normally peaceful ceremonies.

Christina Rossetti, Echo 361

A love from the distant past still lingers in memory.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 30: When to the Sessions of Sweet

Silent Thought 361

The speaker remembers his past, judges his life , and finds great value in the present.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73: That Time of Year Thou May’st

in Me Behold 362

Even though age is closing in, the speaker finds his reason for dedication to the past.

Walt Whitman, Reconciliation 362

In what way is the speaker reconciled to his former enemy?

William Wordsworth, Lines Written in Early Spring 363

The songs of woodland birds lead the speaker to moral thoughts.

William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming 364

What new and dangerous forces are being turned loose in our modern world?

NOTE—The following selections are referenced throughout Writing About Literature ,

but do not physically appear in the text:

Guy de Maupassant, “The Necklace”

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Cask of Amontillado”

Katharine Mansfield, “Miss Brill”

Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess”

Susan Glaspell, Trifles

William Shakespeare, Hamlet

However, these selections are available in the eAnthology featured in

MyLiteratureLab (www.myliteraturelab.com), along with more than 200

additional literary works. Please refer to the inside front and back cover

for a complete listing of available selections. For more information on

packaging this text with MyLiteratureLab at no additional cost, refer to page xvi.

A G lossary of I mportant L iterary T erms 365

C redits 377

I ndex of T itles , A uthors , and F irst L ines of P oetry 379

Read More Show Less

Preface

To the Instructor

In this tenth edition of Writing About Literature, I have kept and strengthened those features that so many of you have valued over the years. As in the past, I base my approach not on genres, with specific assignments to be determined, but rather on topics for full-length essays on texts in any genre. While the constant emphasis is on writing complete essays about literature, the chapters may also be used as starting points for classroom study and discussion, and thus may also be adapted for shorter writing assignments. In a one-semester course the book offers selective choices for study and writing; whereas in a two- or three-semester sequence, it is extensive enough to offer the possibility of complete or close-to-complete use.

The various chapter discussions may actually be considered as essay assignments, for that is how they were developed. Many years ago, when I was just starting out as a teacher of literature, and, inevitably, as a teacher of writing, I learned that there was a direct connection between the ways I made my assignments and the quality of student work. The more I explained to students what I wanted from them, the better their final essays turned out to be. Soon, however, I found myself taking up entire classroom periods in making assignments, and it was then that I began to write and hand out my directions, thus saving considerable classroom time. When I put these directions together, Writing Themes About Literature, now Writing About Literature, was the result, first published in 1964. Every assignment was tried out in the classroom, and I was able to make changes and improvements based on the questions Iwas asked and also based on the written assignments my students turned in.

Organization

As in each past edition of Writing About Literature, each chapter consists of two parts. The first is a discussion of a literary approach, and the second consists of suggestions for writing, together with a demonstrative essay or essays showing how students might deal with the approach.

A major characteristic preserved in this edition is that, after the preliminary discussion in Chapter 1, the chapters are arranged in a loose order of increasing difficulty. Beginning with Chapter 2, which helps students connect their reading with their responses and preferences, the chapters contain topics relevant to all the genres. The comparison-contrast chapter (Chapter 14), for example, illustrates the ways in which the earlier techniques may be focused on any of the chapter-title topics in the book. The chapter also demonstrates how an extensive comparison-contrast technique may be applied simultaneously to fiction, poetry, and drama. The later chapters, such as those on form in poetry, on film, and on research (Chapters 13,16, and 18, respectively), are increasingly involved, but they also combine and build on the various techniques of analysis presented in the earlier chapters.

Although you might assign the chapters in sequence throughout your course, you may also choose them according to your objectives and needs. One instructor, for example, might pass over the earlier chapters and go directly to the later ones. Another might choose the chapter on comparison-contrast for separate assignments such as comparative studies of symbolism, structure, character, and point of view. Still another might use just a few of the chapters, assigning them two or more times until students overcome initial difficulties. No matter how the chapters are used, the two parts—discussion and illustration—enable students to improve their skills as readers and writers.

The illustrative parts of the chapters—the demonstrative essays—are presented in the belief that the word imitation need not be preceded by adjectives like slavish and mere. These demonstrative essays represent suggestions and guidance for thematic development, and therefore represent a full treatment of each of the various topics. Nevertheless, they have been kept within the approximate lengths of most assignments in undergraduate courses. If students are writing outside of class, they can readily create full-length essays. And even though the demonstrative essays treat three or more aspects of particular topics, there is nothing to prevent assigning only one aspect, either for an impromptu or for an outside-class essay. Thus, using the chapter on setting, you might assign a paragraph about the use of setting in only the first scene of a story, or a paragraph about descriptions of interior settings, colors, or shades of color and light.

I emphasize that the purpose of the demonstrative essays is to show what might be done—not what must be done—on particular assignments. It is clear that students writing about literary works are facing a complex task. First, they must read a work for the first time; second, they must attempt to understand it; and third, they must then apply new or unfamiliar concepts to that work as they begin to write about it. By guiding them in developing a thematic form in which to express their ideas, the demonstrative essays are intended to help them overcome the third difficulty. Guidance is key here, not prescription. At first, of course, some students may follow the demonstrative essays closely, whereas others may adapt them or else use them as points of departure. My hope is that students will free themselves to go their own ways as they become more experienced as writers.

Following the demonstrative essays are commentaries, something students recommended that I include in the fourth edition and that I have kept ever since. These are designed to connect the precepts in the first parts of the chapters to the demonstrative writing in the second parts.

Additions. Revisions. Other Changes, and Retentions

All changes in the tenth edition of Writing About Literature, as in earlier editions, are designed to help students read, study, think, plan, draft, and write. I have left no part of the book untouched. A number of chapters are extensively revised; some are almost entirely rewritten. This is particularly true of the revisions in Chapter 1, "Preliminary: The Process of Reading, Responding to, and Writing About Literature." There are many changes here, and also the addition of some drawings that I hope will prove helpful to students beginning to write about literature on a serious level. Of particular note is the addition of Chapter 13, "Writing About Poetic Form." This chapter, here for the first time in the tenth edition, replaces the chapter on prosody from all the earlier editions, but it also contains introductory material on rhythm and rhyme. This change has also required the addition of more specimen poems than were included previously in the book. Also of particular note is the chapter on review essays (Chapter 15) included in the ninth edition and continued here. The reason for retaining this chapter is a practical one: Of all the writing about literature that students may be called on to do in their lives and future careers, review writing is the most likely, whether for general audiences or for audiences united by a common concern.

Another major change is the repositioning of Chapters 3 through 7, which now include a chapter on a close reading of texts, a preliminary technique for all students just beginning the actual study of literature. These five chapters, all of which are suitable for fiction and three of which are suitable for drama, are now arranged in the order of close reading, character, point of view, plot and structure, and setting. In this edition the description of the extended comparison-contrast essay in Chapter 14 has been added at the request of reviewers of the ninth edition. This addition, together with the full chapter on research (Chapter 18), makes for two challenging extended assignments that instructors might give students.

There are many other changes designed to improve the tenth edition. In making the many revisions, alterations, repositionings, and additions (as well as subtractions), I have tried to clarify, improve, and freshen the underlying information and examples. Many of the titles, headings, and subheadings have been retained as complete sentences so as to make them encapsulate the discussions they precede. My hope is that these informative headings will assist students in their understanding of the various topics. In a number of the chapters, the writing sections headed "Raise Questions to Discover Ideas" are augmented, and in the various "Special Topics" sections I have kept the topics designed to help students do library research.

Of the major sections retained from the eighth and ninth editions, Appendix A is worthy of note. This appendix contains brief descriptions of important critical approaches such as New Criticism, structuralism, feminism, deconstructionism, and reader-response criticism. Also of major importance in the tenth edition are the lists of "Special Topics for Studying and Discussing" at the ends of the chapters. These are mainly keyed to the works anthologized in Appendix C, but you are encouraged to adapt them to the selections in whatever anthologies you may be using. In several chapters, there are short related topics that are boxed and shaded to set them apart for emphasis. These discussions, such as "Using the Names of Authors When Writing About Literature," "Vehicle and Tenor;" and "DVD Technology and Film Study;" are designed as short notes to help students think about and develop their own writing. Users of previous editions have singled out these short boxed discussions for praise.

Aside from the extensive revisions and improvements, the chapters are internally different because of changes in Appendix C. The additions are Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death," Hardy's "The Man He Killed," Herbert's "Virtue," Randall's "Ballad of Birmingham," Wordsworth's "Lines Written in Early Spring, 'and Yeats's "The Second Coming." (And Chapter 13 now includes Herbert's "Easter Wings," Tennyson's "The Eagle," and Whitman's "Reconciliation.") Also, a few poems from the ninth edition have been omitted. To accompany these changes, there are changes in the topics of the demonstrative essays. I hope that these will make the book richer and, within the confines of the short number of selections, timely. With all the changes, the tenth edition of Writing About Literature remains a comprehensive guide for composition courses in which literature is introduced, and also for literature courses at any level.

An innovation of the sixth edition that has been retained in all subsequent editions is the glossary, which is based on the terms set in boldface in the text. The increasing number of students taking entrance examinations and the GRE has justified this continuation. A student may consult the glossary, which includes definitions and page numbers for further reference, and thereby develop full and systematic knowledge of many important literary concepts.

A particular word is in order about the works included in Appendix C. At one time I believed that clarifying references could be drawn from a pool of works commonly known by advanced high school and college students, and I therefore thought that no reference anthology was necessary. I presented a small number of works in the second edition, keyed to some but not all of the demonstrative essays, but reviewers recommended against it for subsequent editions. Recently, however, readers have emphasized that references to unknown works, even complete and self-explanatory ones, do not fully explain and clarify. Therefore, after the fifth edition, I made the book almost completely self-contained with the increased number of works in Appendix C. (For the chapter on problems, however, I have continued to assume that students are acquainted with Shakespeare's Hamlet; and for the essay on film I have assumed that they might know or learn to know Welles's Citizen Kane.) The result is that both references and demonstrative essays may be easily verified by a reading of the works included in the book. Experience has shown that the unity and coherence provided by these works help students understand and develop their own assignments.

Writing and Literature

The tenth edition brings into focus something that has been true of Writing About Literature since it first appeared in 1964. The book is primarily a practical guide for writing; the emphasis throughout is on how the reading of literature may improve writing. This emphasis is made to help students not only in composition and literature but also in most of their classes. In other subjects such as psychology, economics, sociology, biology, and political science, instructors use texts and ask students to develop papers from raw data. Writing is based on external, written materials, not on the student's own experiences or opinions. Writing is about reading.

Yet instructors of writing and literature face the problems we have always faced. Throughout all our colleges and universities, the demands for good student writing have gone beyond a requirement and a goal, and have now reached a clamor. The needs of other departments have been brought into strong focus by the creation of programs for writing across the curriculum. Such demands have correspondingly imposed a wide diversification of subject matter, straining the general knowledge of English department staffs and also creating a certain topical and thematic pressure on English composition and literature courses. Writing programs that stress internalized subject matter, such as personal experiences or occasional topic materials, have little bearing on writing for other courses. We as English faculty, with a background in literature, have the task of meeting the service needs of our institutions without compromising our own disciplinary commitment.

The approach in this book is aimed at these problems. English teachers can work within their own discipline—literature—while also fulfilling their primary and often required responsibility of teaching writing that is externally, not internally, directed. The book thus keeps the following issues in perspective:

  • The requirement of the institution for composition
  • The need of students to develop writing skills based on written texts
  • The responsibility of the English faculty to teach writing while still working within their own expertise

It is therefore gratifying to claim that, for close to four decades, Writing About Literature has been offering assistance to meet these needs. The approach works, but it is still novel. It gives coherence to the sometimes fragmented composition course: It also provides for adaptation and, as I have stressed, variety Using the book, you can develop a virtually endless number of new topics for essays. One obvious benefit is the possibility of entirely eliminating not only the traditional "theme barrels" of infamous memory in fraternity and sorority houses but also the newer interference from online "enterprises" that provide critical essays to order. I find it difficult to find words to express my contempt for such businesses.

Although Writing About Literature is designed, as I have said in the past, as a rhetoric of practical criticism for students, it is based on profoundly held convictions. I believe that true liberation in a liberal arts curriculum is achieved only through clearly defined goals. Just to make assignments and let students do with them what they can is to encourage frustration and mental enslavement. If students develop a deep knowledge of specific approaches to subject material, however, they can begin to develop some of that expertness that is essential to freedom. As Pope said in An Essay on Criticism,

  • True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance,
  • As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.

It is almost axiomatic that the development of writing skill in one area (in this instance, the interpretation of literature) has an enabling effect for skills in other areas. The search for information with a particular goal in mind; the asking of pointed questions; the testing, rephrasing, and developing of ideas—all these and more are transferable skills for students to build on throughput their college years and beyond.

I have one concluding article of faith. Those of us whose careers have been established in the study of literature have made commitments to our belief in its value. The study of literature is valid in and of itself; but literature as an art form employs techniques and creates problems for readers that can be dealt with only through analysis, and analysis means work. Thus the immediate aim of Writing About Literature is to help students to read and write about individual literary works. The ultimate objective (in the past I wrote "primary objective") is to promote the lifelong pleasurable study and love of literature.

Acknowledgments

As I complete the tenth edition of Writing About Literature, I renew my deepest thanks to all of you who have been loyal to the earlier editions. Your approval of the book is a great honor. As I think about the revisions for the tenth edition, I am impressed with how much Writing About Literature has been influenced by the collective wisdom of many students and teachers. The reviewers who have been particularly helpful for the tenth edition are Michael Stedillie, Casper College; John Stratton, Ashland University; Elizabeth Velez, Georgetown University; Lisa Williams, Jacksonville State University; John Landry, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth; Dale Carter, California State University; and Troy Nordham, Butler County Community College. Conversations and discussions with many others have influenced my changes in innumerable and immeasurable ways.

I thank Carrie Brandon, Prentice Hall's Senior Acquisitions Editor for English, for her thoughtfulness, encouragement, and helpfulness. Phil Miller of Prentice Hall has given me firm and friendly support over a number of years. In addition, I thank Kari Callaghan Mazzola of Big Sky Composition, and, especially, Mary Anne Shahidi, who copyedited the manuscript and offered many, many corrections and improvements. I particularly thank Jonathan Roberts for his skilled and unfailing help in preparing the manuscripts and disks of the halting and tentative drafts leading to the final copy. Thank you each and every one.

Edgar V. Roberts

Read More Show Less

Introduction

To the Instructor

In this tenth edition of Writing About Literature, I have kept and strengthened those features that so many of you have valued over the years. As in the past, I base my approach not on genres, with specific assignments to be determined, but rather on topics for full-length essays on texts in any genre. While the constant emphasis is on writing complete essays about literature, the chapters may also be used as starting points for classroom study and discussion, and thus may also be adapted for shorter writing assignments. In a one-semester course the book offers selective choices for study and writing; whereas in a two- or three-semester sequence, it is extensive enough to offer the possibility of complete or close-to-complete use.

The various chapter discussions may actually be considered as essay assignments, for that is how they were developed. Many years ago, when I was just starting out as a teacher of literature, and, inevitably, as a teacher of writing, I learned that there was a direct connection between the ways I made my assignments and the quality of student work. The more I explained to students what I wanted from them, the better their final essays turned out to be. Soon, however, I found myself taking up entire classroom periods in making assignments, and it was then that I began to write and hand out my directions, thus saving considerable classroom time. When I put these directions together, Writing Themes About Literature, now Writing About Literature, was the result, first published in 1964. Every assignment was tried out in the classroom, and I was able to make changes and improvements based on thequestions I was asked and also based on the written assignments my students turned in.

Organization

As in each past edition of Writing About Literature, each chapter consists of two parts. The first is a discussion of a literary approach, and the second consists of suggestions for writing, together with a demonstrative essay or essays showing how students might deal with the approach.

A major characteristic preserved in this edition is that, after the preliminary discussion in Chapter 1, the chapters are arranged in a loose order of increasing difficulty. Beginning with Chapter 2, which helps students connect their reading with their responses and preferences, the chapters contain topics relevant to all the genres. The comparison-contrast chapter (Chapter 14), for example, illustrates the ways in which the earlier techniques may be focused on any of the chapter-title topics in the book. The chapter also demonstrates how an extensive comparison-contrast technique may be applied simultaneously to fiction, poetry, and drama. The later chapters, such as those on form in poetry, on film, and on research (Chapters 13,16, and 18, respectively), are increasingly involved, but they also combine and build on the various techniques of analysis presented in the earlier chapters.

Although you might assign the chapters in sequence throughout your course, you may also choose them according to your objectives and needs. One instructor, for example, might pass over the earlier chapters and go directly to the later ones. Another might choose the chapter on comparison-contrast for separate assignments such as comparative studies of symbolism, structure, character, and point of view. Still another might use just a few of the chapters, assigning them two or more times until students overcome initial difficulties. No matter how the chapters are used, the two parts—discussion and illustration—enable students to improve their skills as readers and writers.

The illustrative parts of the chapters—the demonstrative essays—are presented in the belief that the word imitation need not be preceded by adjectives like slavish and mere. These demonstrative essays represent suggestions and guidance for thematic development, and therefore represent a full treatment of each of the various topics. Nevertheless, they have been kept within the approximate lengths of most assignments in undergraduate courses. If students are writing outside of class, they can readily create full-length essays. And even though the demonstrative essays treat three or more aspects of particular topics, there is nothing to prevent assigning only one aspect, either for an impromptu or for an outside-class essay. Thus, using the chapter on setting, you might assign a paragraph about the use of setting in only the first scene of a story, or a paragraph about descriptions of interior settings, colors, or shades of color and light.

I emphasize that the purpose of the demonstrative essays is to show what might be done—not what must be done—on particular assignments. It is clear that students writing about literary works are facing a complex task. First, they must read a work for the first time; second, they must attempt to understand it; and third, they must then apply new or unfamiliar concepts to that work as they begin to write about it. By guiding them in developing a thematic form in which to express their ideas, the demonstrative essays are intended to help them overcome the third difficulty. Guidance is key here, not prescription. At first, of course, some students may follow the demonstrative essays closely, whereas others may adapt them or else use them as points of departure. My hope is that students will free themselves to go their own ways as they become more experienced as writers.

Following the demonstrative essays are commentaries, something students recommended that I include in the fourth edition and that I have kept ever since. These are designed to connect the precepts in the first parts of the chapters to the demonstrative writing in the second parts.

Additions. Revisions. Other Changes, and Retentions

All changes in the tenth edition of Writing About Literature, as in earlier editions, are designed to help students read, study, think, plan, draft, and write. I have left no part of the book untouched. A number of chapters are extensively revised; some are almost entirely rewritten. This is particularly true of the revisions in Chapter 1, "Preliminary: The Process of Reading, Responding to, and Writing About Literature." There are many changes here, and also the addition of some drawings that I hope will prove helpful to students beginning to write about literature on a serious level. Of particular note is the addition of Chapter 13, "Writing About Poetic Form." This chapter, here for the first time in the tenth edition, replaces the chapter on prosody from all the earlier editions, but it also contains introductory material on rhythm and rhyme. This change has also required the addition of more specimen poems than were included previously in the book. Also of particular note is the chapter on review essays (Chapter 15) included in the ninth edition and continued here. The reason for retaining this chapter is a practical one: Of all the writing about literature that students may be called on to do in their lives and future careers, review writing is the most likely, whether for general audiences or for audiences united by a common concern.

Another major change is the repositioning of Chapters 3 through 7, which now include a chapter on a close reading of texts, a preliminary technique for all students just beginning the actual study of literature. These five chapters, all of which are suitable for fiction and three of which are suitable for drama, are now arranged in the order of close reading, character, point of view, plot and structure, and setting. In this edition the description of the extended comparison-contrast essay in Chapter 14 has been added at the request of reviewers of the ninth edition. This addition, together with the full chapter on research (Chapter 18), makes for two challenging extended assignments that instructors might give students.

There are many other changes designed to improve the tenth edition. In making the many revisions, alterations, repositionings, and additions (as well as subtractions), I have tried to clarify, improve, and freshen the underlying information and examples. Many of the titles, headings, and subheadings have been retained as complete sentences so as to make them encapsulate the discussions they precede. My hope is that these informative headings will assist students in their understanding of the various topics. In a number of the chapters, the writing sections headed "Raise Questions to Discover Ideas" are augmented, and in the various "Special Topics" sections I have kept the topics designed to help students do library research.

Of the major sections retained from the eighth and ninth editions, Appendix A is worthy of note. This appendix contains brief descriptions of important critical approaches such as New Criticism, structuralism, feminism, deconstructionism, and reader-response criticism. Also of major importance in the tenth edition are the lists of "Special Topics for Studying and Discussing" at the ends of the chapters. These are mainly keyed to the works anthologized in Appendix C, but you are encouraged to adapt them to the selections in whatever anthologies you may be using. In several chapters, there are short related topics that are boxed and shaded to set them apart for emphasis. These discussions, such as "Using the Names of Authors When Writing About Literature," "Vehicle and Tenor;" and "DVD Technology and Film Study;" are designed as short notes to help students think about and develop their own writing. Users of previous editions have singled out these short boxed discussions for praise.

Aside from the extensive revisions and improvements, the chapters are internally different because of changes in Appendix C. The additions are Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death," Hardy's "The Man He Killed," Herbert's "Virtue," Randall's "Ballad of Birmingham," Wordsworth's "Lines Written in Early Spring, 'and Yeats's "The Second Coming." (And Chapter 13 now includes Herbert's "Easter Wings," Tennyson's "The Eagle," and Whitman's "Reconciliation.") Also, a few poems from the ninth edition have been omitted. To accompany these changes, there are changes in the topics of the demonstrative essays. I hope that these will make the book richer and, within the confines of the short number of selections, timely. With all the changes, the tenth edition of Writing About Literature remains a comprehensive guide for composition courses in which literature is introduced, and also for literature courses at any level.

An innovation of the sixth edition that has been retained in all subsequent editions is the glossary, which is based on the terms set in boldface in the text. The increasing number of students taking entrance examinations and the GRE has justified this continuation. A student may consult the glossary, which includes definitions and page numbers for further reference, and thereby develop full and systematic knowledge of many important literary concepts.

A particular word is in order about the works included in Appendix C. At one time I believed that clarifying references could be drawn from a pool of works commonly known by advanced high school and college students, and I therefore thought that no reference anthology was necessary. I presented a small number of works in the second edition, keyed to some but not all of the demonstrative essays, but reviewers recommended against it for subsequent editions. Recently, however, readers have emphasized that references to unknown works, even complete and self-explanatory ones, do not fully explain and clarify. Therefore, after the fifth edition, I made the book almost completely self-contained with the increased number of works in Appendix C. (For the chapter on problems, however, I have continued to assume that students are acquainted with Shakespeare's Hamlet; and for the essay on film I have assumed that they might know or learn to know Welles's Citizen Kane.) The result is that both references and demonstrative essays may be easily verified by a reading of the works included in the book. Experience has shown that the unity and coherence provided by these works help students understand and develop their own assignments.

Writing and Literature

The tenth edition brings into focus something that has been true of Writing About Literature since it first appeared in 1964. The book is primarily a practical guide for writing; the emphasis throughout is on how the reading of literature may improve writing. This emphasis is made to help students not only in composition and literature but also in most of their classes. In other subjects such as psychology, economics, sociology, biology, and political science, instructors use texts and ask students to develop papers from raw data. Writing is based on external, written materials, not on the student's own experiences or opinions. Writing is about reading.

Yet instructors of writing and literature face the problems we have always faced. Throughout all our colleges and universities, the demands for good student writing have gone beyond a requirement and a goal, and have now reached a clamor. The needs of other departments have been brought into strong focus by the creation of programs for writing across the curriculum. Such demands have correspondingly imposed a wide diversification of subject matter, straining the general knowledge of English department staffs and also creating a certain topical and thematic pressure on English composition and literature courses. Writing programs that stress internalized subject matter, such as personal experiences or occasional topic materials, have little bearing on writing for other courses. We as English faculty, with a background in literature, have the task of meeting the service needs of our institutions without compromising our own disciplinary commitment.

The approach in this book is aimed at these problems. English teachers can work within their own discipline—literature—while also fulfilling their primary and often required responsibility of teaching writing that is externally, not internally, directed. The book thus keeps the following issues in perspective:

  • The requirement of the institution for composition
  • The need of students to develop writing skills based on written texts
  • The responsibility of the English faculty to teach writing while still working within their own expertise

It is therefore gratifying to claim that, for close to four decades, Writing About Literature has been offering assistance to meet these needs. The approach works, but it is still novel. It gives coherence to the sometimes fragmented composition course: It also provides for adaptation and, as I have stressed, variety Using the book, you can develop a virtually endless number of new topics for essays. One obvious benefit is the possibility of entirely eliminating not only the traditional "theme barrels" of infamous memory in fraternity and sorority houses but also the newer interference from online "enterprises" that provide critical essays to order. I find it difficult to find words to express my contempt for such businesses.

Although Writing About Literature is designed, as I have said in the past, as a rhetoric of practical criticism for students, it is based on profoundly held convictions. I believe that true liberation in a liberal arts curriculum is achieved only through clearly defined goals. Just to make assignments and let students do with them what they can is to encourage frustration and mental enslavement. If students develop a deep knowledge of specific approaches to subject material, however, they can begin to develop some of that expertness that is essential to freedom. As Pope said in An Essay on Criticism,

  • True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance,
  • As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.

It is almost axiomatic that the development of writing skill in one area (in this instance, the interpretation of literature) has an enabling effect for skills in other areas. The search for information with a particular goal in mind; the asking of pointed questions; the testing, rephrasing, and developing of ideas—all these and more are transferable skills for students to build on throughput their college years and beyond.

I have one concluding article of faith. Those of us whose careers have been established in the study of literature have made commitments to our belief in its value. The study of literature is valid in and of itself; but literature as an art form employs techniques and creates problems for readers that can be dealt with only through analysis, and analysis means work. Thus the immediate aim of Writing About Literature is to help students to read and write about individual literary works. The ultimate objective (in the past I wrote "primary objective") is to promote the lifelong pleasurable study and love of literature.

Acknowledgments

As I complete the tenth edition of Writing About Literature, I renew my deepest thanks to all of you who have been loyal to the earlier editions. Your approval of the book is a great honor. As I think about the revisions for the tenth edition, I am impressed with how much Writing About Literature has been influenced by the collective wisdom of many students and teachers. The reviewers who have been particularly helpful for the tenth edition are Michael Stedillie, Casper College; John Stratton, Ashland University; Elizabeth Velez, Georgetown University; Lisa Williams, Jacksonville State University; John Landry, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth; Dale Carter, California State University; and Troy Nordham, Butler County Community College. Conversations and discussions with many others have influenced my changes in innumerable and immeasurable ways.

I thank Carrie Brandon, Prentice Hall's Senior Acquisitions Editor for English, for her thoughtfulness, encouragement, and helpfulness. Phil Miller of Prentice Hall has given me firm and friendly support over a number of years. In addition, I thank Kari Callaghan Mazzola of Big Sky Composition, and, especially, Mary Anne Shahidi, who copyedited the manuscript and offered many, many corrections and improvements. I particularly thank Jonathan Roberts for his skilled and unfailing help in preparing the manuscripts and disks of the halting and tentative drafts leading to the final copy. Thank you each and every one.

Edgar V. Roberts

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2013

    This is an excellent book. It saved my butt. On page 16, it con

    This is an excellent book. It saved my butt. On page 16, it contained the line about when we talk we switch the subject. I said that at my sister''s sweet sixteen birthday party.
    My mom and sister said I ruined the party and was talking about garbage to the guests-Teena Shetty

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)